Spring has sprung. The evenings are lighter, the day is longer, the weather is warmer. At least that’s what should be happening at this time of year – along with the April showers which bring refreshment and energy to the growing plants. Life begins to re-emerge and things are all a little greener. (By the way, I hold that Spring begins on the date of the equinox when the earth is in the exact place in its orbit that the day and night are equal – March 20th this year – not March 1st which the weather forecasters seem to have adopted.)
Poets have long been inspired by the coming of spring, perhaps none more so than Alfred Lord Tennyson who penned these words in his poem of 1835, Locksley Hall.
“In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;
In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;
In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;
In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
Plato wrote that with a touch of lover, everyone becomes a poet. Others have written or said things about love too – some of which are intended to raise a smile. Mae West for example is reported to have said “Love thy neighbour — and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier.” George Burns said that “Love is a lot like a backache, it doesn’t show up on X-rays, but you know it’s there.”
The church’s season at this time of year is Easter, and love is at the very heart of the season. We recall that Jesus said that greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Which is exactly what he did. He gave up his life for his friends. Who are his friends? That’s the whole world – including you and me. This is not love that is a fancy thought made lightly, or an amusing anecdote or quote, but love as deep as it gets. My favourite hymn is “When I survey the wondrous cross” and my favourite lines from that hymn are “see, from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did e’er such love and sorrow meet?” Jesus models love for us, and calls us to reflect his love in our relationships with others. The greatest commandment, he tells us, is to love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself. Happy Easter!